Monday, June 20, 2005

Tuesday, June 21

The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime (pp. 111-112)

To read today's office, click here.

It has always amazed me that we constantly need an old lesson: "Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law," as The Request for Presence says in this morning's office. Familiarity with old texts, like the Adam and Eve story in Genesis 1--3, or the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22, or David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11, or the wonders of Psalm 23, or the growing mountain of predictions in Isaiah 52--53. Or the Sermon on the Mount or the Pentecost account of Acts 2 or the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. Familiarity, as I was saying, with such texts can dull their luster or blind our eyes to seeing what they really say. We need to ask God to make these words fresh.

So, the Psalmist, who ought to know, asks God when he reads the Law to open his eyes so he can see the glory of God's good words for his good people so they can live as they can.

Perhaps we don't often enough pause to ask God to "open our eyes" to the glory of the words we read in our offices, but the structure of The Divine Hours is such that we are daily (three or four times, in fact!) reminded of being summoned to pray, of the request for God's presence to attend to our reading (so we can hear and see), and the profound Greeting of the Lord as God makes his presence known. Only then, after we have requested God's presence and greeted that presence, do we have a Refrain and a Reading of Scripture.

Our Father is a person; the Son is a person; the Spirit is a person. To attend to Scripture as God's Word to us -- as God speaking directly to us as a communication, is to be treated as persons and to treat God as a person. To do that we need to listen, and when we can recollect ourselves before this "one God, forever and ever" we can see who God is and hear what God wants us to hear.

Indeed, we pray, "Open our eyes" for we would hate to miss an encounter with the infinite God who created the universe and who attends to us as we request his presence.